It's 5:20am here in South Africa, and the Muslim call to prayer woke me up at 5, so I thought I would use my busy and awake mind for something useful and share with you all the events of our first weekend here. It is evident that God is trying to teach us patience as a first lesson, and He teaches this lesson through circumstance. It seems like every single step we try to make here has to turn into 5 more, and even then we often still do not accomplish our goals. We can't get a bank account yet, in trying to get phones only I have one that doesn't receive calls but only makes them, our credit cards keep freezing, we can't find a car yet, we have bought some furniture and house items from a family here but can't find a truck to move them nor can we get the cash out of our bank to pay for them, and the list could go on. It can be incredibly frustrating and it's been a challenge for us to remain positive when we can't even set up our lives here in the most basic of ways. HOWEVER, one important task, moving into our new home in the Oceanview community, has been accomplished successfully. We finally brought some of our things over on Friday and Saturday and last night (Sunday) was our first night to stay in the house. Even though we are surrounded here by the strong smells of newly varnished wood and paint, the sounds of dogs barking and people walking around, and the strong Cape Town wind that creaks this house with unfamiliar groans, there is an underlying peace and contentment about being in this place. It feels like home.
The Kitchen, all the bedrooms are down that hall. The lounge is where the pic was taken from.
Now don't get me wrong, this isn't the only feeling we have about living in this place. This piece of my writing begins with a warning: do not continue unless you really want to know our thoughts and emotions as we venture on this journey here in South Africa. This past week has been one of the most challenging times for both of us in our faith walks to date. So often we talk about following God and living out our faith, but God has really put us to the test. First, without a doubt, we know we are in the right place, that God has called us to move to South Africa, and that He desires for us to live in the township of Oceanview among the people we serve. However, we really were naive about how difficult it would be, especially emotionally. Just the build-up alone of moving into our house has been enormous, as our reason has kicked in and we have realized how crazy it is for us to be moving into such a poor area. The dangers are real and there is a possibility that the community (or parts of it) will not welcome or accept us. We have had many moments of anxiety and fear about this week. The truly strange part of it has been that when we have visited the house, and even staying in it last night for our first night, it truly feels like home and we know it's exactly where we are supposed to be. Casey has found himself greatly frustrated at the difficulties in setting up our lives here with phones. We each find ourselves in moments where we think, “Are we sure?” “Who let us do this?” “Why is this so hard?”
Kieren loves the Lounge (Den) already!
In the midst of this, GOD IS FAITHFUL. Whenever one of us is at the end of our rope, the other is always completely calm and helps to talk through the problem or feelings. Our house is perfect for us and the church has done a TON of work getting it ready (and is going to continue to help us settle in this week). We have already found a great deal of the things we need and each day get more settled. God has given us seriously AMAZING friends here who are so gracious and help us at each step. God's spirit is evident in each day and He is continually helping us to persevere and endure.
It's real life here, folks. It's not a mission trip and there is no Chris Sasser to help organize it all and take us to a fun meal at the end of the day. Our life here is rocky, unpredictable, and frustrating, but again, it's exactly where we are supposed to be. We are so thankful for all your thoughts and prayers - and so many of you have been reaching out to us – thank you and keep doing it! Our prayers are to continue to settle in here and find ways to get the 'details' done. Also, we hope to see more of our friends in our community where we live, Oceanview, and meet our new neighbors soon. Most of all, pray that we have peace, endurance, and joy in the midst of this challenging new chapter in our lives.
Thanks for walking it with us,
Sarah (Casey and Kieren)
Kieren's 1st Tooth!